Reviews:Directed evolution/Library construction/PrimaryPaper

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Library Construction for Directed Evolution WikiReview: A new approach to maintaining an up to date reference resource for researchers

Cameron Neylon, Jason Kelly, Daffyd Jones


The primary scientific literature has traditionally been collated, filtered, and refined through the writing of reviews. Many specialist journals concentrate specifically on reviews with variations in subject area, length, and speed of publication. However the one element that links all reviews is that they are a static record; a snap shot of one person's (or a small number of people's) view of a specific field at a given point in time. This, in combination with the delays inherent in traditional publishing, means that any review is out of date as soon as it is published. By contrast, the internet is populated with tools that provide access to filtered and collated views of available information that are community based and can be constantly updated and maintained. Here we describe the application of such a Web 2.0 tool, a Wiki, to maintain and update a review covering the construction of combinatorial libraries of DNA for use in directed evolution experiments.


Review articles are a central part of the traditional research literature. By filtering and collating information from the primary literature they provide a condensed point of entry to a specific field or subject and make it possible to summarise and reconcile conflicting claims. That reviews provide an effective introduction to an area is demonstrated by the bias in citation numbers towards reviews and review only journals.

  • Open access and the breakdown of traditional publishing approaches
  • Web 2.0 and its application to science and humanities research


  • openwetware implementation
  • creative commons license
  • approaches to management and maintenance of the wiki review
  • persistence and long term survival (or retirement)

The requirement for a community

  • the need for editors(?)
  • the problem of vandalism and abuse
  • reward structures for community work in research



doi:10.1038/439534a - comment on the need for Gene Function Wiki in Nature doi:10.1038/438900a - Wikipedia and Britannica go head to head